Breaking your dog’s excessive barking habit | Tips and advice

All dogs will bark sometimes, but excessive barking can cause a lot of nuisance. It can be very unpleasant to you and your environment. Here’s how to break your dog’s excessive barking habit.

Why is my dog barking?

In order to break your dog’s excessive barking habit, it is important to understand why it is barking and how much barking is considered normal. Some breeds bark less than others, and no two individual dogs are the same. Generally speaking, a Chihuahua will bark more frequently just like Appenzellers or sheepdogs.  It is important that the barking remains within reasonable limits and that the dog stops as soon as the owner tells it to. Dogs use barking to express themselves just like we communicate by talking. Excessive barking may have varying causes:

Your dog is in pain

Before you start breaking the barking habit, you need to find out if there are any physical discomforts that may be causing it. Pay a visit to your vet to see if they can find any possible causes.

Your dog is insecure or anxious

When your dog won’t stop barking as soon as someone rings the doorbell or walks past the garden, or when it barks to other dogs or passers-by, it may be frightened or insecure. You may also be (unknowingly) transferring this feeling onto your dog. Let it know that everything is under control and you are the one responsible for both your safety. Take it on longer walks or play more often and take the initiative in situations that are stressful to the dog.

Your dog is frustrated or bored

When this is the cause of the barking, you can solve it by providing your dog with more challenges. Take it to dog sports, obedience training or other fun activities and spend a lot of time with and on your dog.

Remember: The large number of potential causes and individual differences between dogs make it difficult to formulate a single recommendation that will help solve the problem every time. When in doubt, it is best to consult a dog trainer or behavioural expert or take your pup to puppy training for expert advice.

General tips:
• Reward good behaviour! When your dog is calm, praise it or reward it with a treat. As long as it’s barking, ignore it.
• Do not get angry at your dog and do not raise your voice, this will only make it more insecure and the barking will get worse.

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